Morocco is exotic, tantalizing and incredibly beautiful. A feast for the senses and especially for the eyes. You could call it a photographer’s wet dream. The endless sand dunes of the Sahara, real-life palaces and houses that look the part, the impressive Kasbah of Ait Benhaddou, the narrow alleys of the souks in Fez, the famous blue streets in Chefchaouen, and kittens galore in Essaouira – the options are endless. Mind you, for me, there is nothing like Marrakech. The colors, the textures, the beautiful chaos. If you have been there you can surely appreciate why I love this city so much. Even though it can be a challenge at times, for a photographer, it is utter paradise and never gets boring.
Whether you are a regular visitor, a NatGeo professional, an Instagrammer or anything in between, if you want to catch Morocco on film (or on your iPhone), there is no better place to start than in Marrakech.
Where to go to find the best places to take pictures? I’m glad you ask. Let me take you on a visual journey to my favorite photogenic, Instagrammable places in Marrakech.
Feel free to follow in my footsteps and check out this map for all the exact locations.
The most Instagrammable places in Marrakech
#sunset // Jemaa el Fna
The Jemaa el Fna is the loudly beating heart of Marrakech. Day or night you will find wonderful madness here. During the day henna ladies, monkey wranglers, water sellers, and snake charmers are out in full swing while at night a market of food stalls pop up while acrobats and storytellers bring the entertainment. Regardless of what time you come, know that photography is permitted, however, you will be asked to tip if need be quite roughly. I wouldn’t even try to sneak a picture because since this is their business all the vendors and entertainers seem to have eagle eyes.
Of course, you shouldn’t be taking pictures of random people in any case especially if it comes to kids or veiled women. And, please stay away from taking pictures with monkeys or snakes – those animals are not kept in good conditions and supporting their owners with a picture is directly supporting animal cruelty.
Instead, you want to come here for sunset and get a view from above. Now all the surrounding mosques start their call to prayer and it is an electric and very moving atmosphere. In addition, taking pictures of the Jemaa el Fna from above is just so much more relaxed than trying to make your way through the crowds with a camera.
Cafe de France, a firm institution is the place to be for the most spectacular view over the square. Mind you, it gets busy here and places fill up quickly. If you want to get a first-row seat on the roof terrace for you and your tripod, come early and be prepared to defend your spot fiercely.
Alternatively, you can go to either cafe on the other side of Cafe de France. The view is just as good and I wouldn’t recommend eating at either place so it doesn’t make a difference. Get a tea or a fresh juice and start shooting because there is, unfortunately, no alcoholic beverages on sale either. So get to work with a steady hand and then head to a restaurant with an alcohol license for a post-sunset sundowner.
#doorporn // Derb Dabachi
Some countries just know how to do doors and Morocco is one of them. Solid and gold, shabby and chic, Majorelle blue or rustic red like the rest of the red city – the options are endless and have inspired a fair share of photographers. Part of the doors appeal is of course what lies behind. The rule of thumb seems to be: the more unassuming the door, the more splendid the riad behind.
For a door that most likely won’t fit in your frame, head to the entrance of the Royal Mansour (a ridiculously Instagrammable hotel in Marrakech overall), but my favorite is still this little mint colored door which belongs to the sister-riad of Chambres d’Amis and is on Derb Dabachi. Alternatively, just take a stroll through the medina and you will surely come across a door to your liking. Please remember though – people live here! Don’t be an annoying Instagrammer who blocks off a home’s entrance, is loud or doesn’t dress appropriately while taking pictures in Marrakech.
#queenofthedesert // Agafay Desert
People are often disappointed when they arrive in Marrakech and realize there is no desert in the immediate vicinity. In order to find sand dunes and play Lawrence of Arabia, you will need to travel for a day to get to the Sahara. If you have enough time I urge you strongly to check out my post about my desert adventure in the Sahara with My Moroccan Adventure and book a trip with them.
However, if you only have a couple of days in Marrakech I recommend you head to the Agafay desert, a stone desert not even an hour’s drive from Marrakech. Here you will find rolling dunes of gravel, camels, and Beduin tents. I recommend you stay a night at Scarabeo Camp for the ultimate luxury glamping experience and photo shoot location.
#arabiannights // La Mamounia
I don’t have numbers to back it up but I doubt there is a more photographed hotel than the La Mamaounia. It is not only one of the most luxurious hotels in Marrakech and populated by the rich and famous (including once Winston Churchill and Hitchcock) but has also become super popular with the Instagram crowds.
Especially famous are the beautiful indoor pool with its little pavilion and the open-air, marble corridor that leads to their business center. Mind you, you will need to ask for permission to get there even if you are an overnight guest. For pool access, you don’t have to book a room (though I highly recommend you do if you can afford it and have to celebrate a special occasion) but can just book yourself a spa treatment to get in.
#50shadesofgreen // Le Jardin Secret
During one of my last trips to Marrakech, I discovered the recently opened Le Jardin Secret in the middle of the medina. Cacti, water fountains, and beautiful tiles offer a hideaway from the busyness of the souks and make for great pictures.
It is slowly becoming more and more popular because it is such a nice refuge in the middle of the medina, super interesting for architects and engineering fans due to its intricate water systems, and yes, to take pictures. I recommend you come early in the morning to escape the crowds and for the best light (something my nephew and I ignored).
#shopaholic // Place des Epices
While I love getting lost in the souks, I find taking pictures there quite tricky. Too many people, too many vendors who will ask for money, and difficult lighting makes it little fun.
However, there is a little airy beauty shop on the Place des Epices that I like. Not only does the owner show off its wares in a picture perfect array which makes it look like a photo shoot location but he also doesn’t mind photographs if you buy a little something (no hard task at this shop!). In addition, there is enough space (not a given in the souks) and great natural light.
Once you have taken your pictures, I recommend buying some of his rosewater or if you want to splurge – saffron!
#magicalmorocco // Nomad rooftop
Most riads come with a beautiful rooftop terrace from where you can escape the busyness of the city and get a great view over the souks or the surroundings of Marrakech. Sometimes that even includes a view of the snowcapped peaks of the Atlas Mountains.
Clear winner amongst the social media crowd though is the Nomad rooftop which makes it one of the most Instagrammed places in Marrakech. This funky little restaurant offers modern Moroccan dishes and some great interiors. In addition, its rooftop comes with a sprinkler system making it the perfect place to cool off when it gets hot. In addition, you have a lovely view of the Place des Epices from here.
#blessed // Above the Clouds
Want to get even higher and see Marrakech and its surroundings from above? Or how about taking some cloud pictures up close while admiring the Atlas Mountains? Either way, get high while taking a hot air balloon ride of the outskirts of Marrakech.
I can highly recommend Maroc Montgolfiere for an Instagrammable and exciting morning. Make sure you bring your GoPro and a selfie stick and don’t forget to hold on tight!
#backtoschool // Ben Youssef Madrasa
Probably one of the most famous historic building in Marrakech is the Ben Youssef Madrasa, the old Koran school. It is not only interesting for architecture lovers and those who want to learn more about the Islamic traditions in Morocco but it also happens to be one of the Instagram spots in Marrakech. Especially the beautiful marble pond in the middle is high in demand and has become a go-to backdrop for many influencers.
Mind you, it can be tricky to get a shot without people (or with the people you actually want to photograph) but when you do, it is so very worth it. As per usual, come early in the morning for the best chances to beat the crowds.
Note: The Ben Youssef Madrasa is currently closed for renovations and is said to reopen in 2020.
#riadlife // Riad Yasmine
Typical Moroccan houses with an open courtyard called riads are at the heart of the medina and many today have been converted into beautiful guesthouses and boutique hotels in Marrakech. You will have a hard time finding a riad that isn’t charming and pretty and they all seem to be incredibly photogenic especially if they come with a little courtyard pool, perfect to cool off in summer.
Few riads are as popular as Riad Yasmine which, while probably just as pretty as many others, became famous when influencer Gypsea Lust posted a picture a few years ago. Ever since the influencer and Instagram crowd has been flocking there to take a shot in the now iconic pool.
I stayed there by a lucky coincidence during my last visit to Marrakech and can attest that it is an exceptionally nice riad. However, due to its fame, it now gets a fair share not only of regular hotel guests but also people who want to take an Instagram shot at the most famous pool in Marrakech. For normal guests that can get a bit irritating.
If you are looking for a riad in Marrakech that hasn’t been plastered all over Instagram yet but is just as nice, I recommend you check out two of my favorites: Riad Les Yeux Bleu and Kitula.
Needless to say, you will need to book a room at any riad in order to get access to the pool. You will not be allowed as a walk in just to take an Instagram picture.
#leblue // Jardin Majorelle
Still one of the most famous photography spots in Marrakech to this day is Jardin Majorelle. If not for its cacti and the Yves Saint Laurent memorial but even more so for its icon blue walls which are painted in the so-called Majorelle Blue.
The spot below is usually crowded with Instagrammers in Marrakech and I get the appeal: the colors, the greenery – it is picture perfect. If you want to have a chance at an uncrowded view get there before 8 am (the garden opens at 8 am) to be first in line to get your ticket and go straight to the back of Villa Oasis where you will find this one particular spot.
Alternatively, use the walls of the villa which are all painted in the iconic blue for some dashes of color. It does get super busy quite quickly but as long as you are not planning to do an entire shoot that will take hours, people are quite happy to move out of your frame (if you extend them the same courtesy of course).
#fashionlegend // Musée Yves Saint Laurent
If you a fashion blogger or Instagrammer or simply a lover of fashion icons, a visit at the Musée Yves Saint Laurent next to Jardin Majorelle is a must. Here you will learn all about the fashion legend’s life and see some of his greatest designs.
In addition to it being a well-curated and beautiful museum, the outside is a great photo location in Marrakech. Once you got your ticket, take a picture of the YSL logo in the courtyard before heading inside. This again is one of these spots, where you need to come very early or be very fast as each visitor passes through here.
A great alternative is the museum sign outside on the street. You will get a great view from the other side of the road and as it is not a busy street, this is a great spot for an Instagram picture in Marrakech. There is some interesting architecture and cacti for texture when you are leaving the museum but be careful not to get too close to the plants – I recently observed a photo shoot of a girl wearing a tulle skirt and let’s just say the cactus and the tulle skirt didn’t get along well.
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